Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
Ballinasloe (Irish: Béal Átha na Slua) is a town in the eastern extremity of County Galway that developed as a crossing point on the River Suck, a tributary of the Shannon. The Irish placename — meaning the mouth of the ford of the crowds — reflects this purpose. The latter part of the name suggests the town has been a meeting place since ancient times. A new public marina has been developed on the river in recent years that allows traffic from the Shannon navigation to access the town.
Ruined Churches and Abbeys testify to the piety of its people and their steadfastness during Penal Times. Old Forts and castles tell of ancient enmities and of the long struggle between Norman and Irish. The tragic battlefield of Aughrim reminds us of the time when Irish and Anglo-Irish united to fight for the cause of the Catholic Stuarts against William of Orange, and died in their thousands.
The Ballinasloe Fair is one of the oldest horse fairs in Europe, bathed in history it dates back to the 700s. Today the ever popular fair is still held, along with a festival that attracts up to 100,000 visitors from all over the world. The town also boasts a successful summer festival called An tSúca Fiain.